Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My TV-less life: Week one

Yet another story today on cable TV getting more expensive.

But not for me.

I ditched my cable contract last month and returned the requisite equipment to Rogers last week. That's right: I haven't watched any seriously cute guys investigate crime and make moderately intellectual pronouncements in almost seven days.

How much will it save me this month? $43.00.

How much will it save me over a year: $516.00.

Doesn't sound like much, right? I mean why ditch the awesomeness of constant advertising and typically mind-numbing programming for such paltry savings?

Well, think about the next thirty years of your life, and do the math. $516 x 30 = $15,480. That's without inflation. And if that money were invested, instead? At a rate of 6%, that's $43,241.67.  For basic cable. And a lot of people spend double the cost of basic cable, I'll bet.

I don't know about you, but that math makes me a little queasy (math always makes me queasy, but especially so when it involves a calculation that hits you over the head with the conclusion that, hey, this is a really dumb way to spend money.)

Why is TV a dumb way to spend money? It doesn't just waste money. It wastes time and kills motivation. Sure, there are quality programs. And how often do you sit down and just watch that one program, then switch off the hopeless little screen? As I've argued already, TV steals the precious few hours at the end of a long working day, in which something productive can be done to enrich our lives and better our situations.

But, you say, TV helps me tune out and relax: There are much better ways. Trust me.

Don't those all involve being alone with one's own thoughts?
Naw, not all of them. And you can always look at your Blackberry repeatedly if you feel the need to distract yourself from thinking (works for me). Also, we all die alone (Happy Tuesday).

How has a TV-less existence been so far: Honestly, I've barely noticed it. I did try to switch it on once, and spent a few minutes staring abstractedly at black-and-white fuzz.

What have I done instead: Practice violin, read two novels, work out, dance in my apartment to le techno musique (Did I just write that? What I actually meant was "stand around in my apartment looking cool"), talk to friends on the phone, make progress on my writing. And listen to one cute guy make moderately intellectual pronouncements. (Okay, maybe "smart-ass pronouncements" is more accurate.) In real life. Imagine that.

Me: One. TV: Zero. 


  1. Hi! Great article, I loved this and the one about graduating debt free. As someone who held down 4 part time jobs at one point during the school year, I was THERE!

    I have been living cable free for nearly two years and I don't mind one bit. I get books from the library two blocks away and get my DVDs from there too. I really don't even notice.

    However my equivalent is now going to be my internet. Bell just ramped up how much I pay for internet now that my year's contract is over, so I want to kick them out and put in TekSavvy instead. It'll save me about $15 a month, but that's enough to make me want to do it. Hopefully they win against the CRTC...

  2. P.S. I'm putting you on my blog roll, I like your style :)

  3. Hey, thanks very much! I will check out your site as well :)